Beautifully written. A thoughtful exploration of anti-semitism,
This review is from: Farewell Leicester Square (Paperback)
This book charts the fortunes, and misfortunes, of Alec Berman, a young Jewish man who dreams of being something in the film industry.
The book, although starting out in Alec's formative years, focuses most sharply on the seven years of his marriage, to the daughter of his first employer in the film business. The plot, such as it is, is a subtle exploration of the anti semitic society of 1930's Britain. Primarily expressed through Alec's experiences and emotions, it also explores those of his wife, a christian, who chooses to marry Alec despite the tacit disapproval of most of her peers. We watch the marriage both flourish and flounder thanks, in large part, to the emotional weight Alec puts on his Jewishness, and how it affects his wife, and then their son, David.
Set against the coming of the second world war, it mentions only obliquely the threat from abroad, in the occasional newspaper report Alec reads, or discusses with his wife and friends. It is, nevertheless, a haunting background knowledge for the modern reader, which throws the subtleties of the anti semitism that Alec suffers into stark relief.
This is an interesting book. It is not an angry polemic, and at times its ideas and messages seem obscured to the point of non existence, by the way Miller writes. It is very poetic in tone, and at times filmic, particularly in the opening sequences, where she builds a kind of montage of sense impressions of Alec's red carpet opening for his seminal film; 'Farewell Leicester Square.'
I found the book rather difficult to get into at first, but after the first fifty pages I began to become immersed in the story, and finished it extremely quickly in the end.